psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present
psychedelic and avant-garde music from the 1960s to the present

:Episode Two Hundred: 9.4.2020

SP 200
Wholly original artwork commissioned for this occasion.

Among this week's highlights:

As their lineup is sax/bass/drums, the obvious and at least somewhat apt comparison to OZO is Morphine. But, like, Morphine on acid. In fact, "Morphine On Acid" would actually make for a better name than OZO, I dare say. Nothing wrong with OZO, but it just makes me think... "so what happened with Matli? Things go south?" But maybe "Morphine On Acid" is just a little too clever, since you'd always have to be explaining "well, it's a play on the lazy music critic construction of 'band' on 'some drug' as a description. And there's another level to it, in that morphine is itself a drug..." I used to be in a band named after a Ride song (not my idea) and even having to go over the rather simple reasoning behind that decision got tiresome really fast.

There's a moment in the song Cosmic Allison, by Portland indie darlings Hazel (from their 1993 album Toreador of Love, which I had on cassette - not dubbed, but actually purchased new (yeah, they still sold albums on cassette that far into the CD era) - in high school) in which singer Pete Krebs mentions, as a very "meta" aside, "I've always hated that word, 'cosmic'". That's to what a degree hippies and new agers had ruined the word "cosmic": indie rockers, who retained a lot of the anti-hippie sentiment of their punk forebears, felt the need to add disclaimers to its use in a song. It's why I suspect "kosmische" music never became "cosmic" music when it reached English-speaking countries (well, that and almost everything sounds more badass in German: what's scarier, a "poltergeist" or a "playful ghost"? What's more menacing, a "blitzkrieg" or a "lightning war". You get the idea.) Anyhow, Portals: A Kosmische Journey through Outer Worlds and Inner Space - from which I play three tracks, by Polypores, Steve Roach, and Nigel Mullaney - gives you just what its wordy title describes.

Maybe someday I'll figure out how to appreciate the spaces between the notes or whatever it is that's necessary to "get" regular old, non-freaky jazz. But until then, I'll stick with listening to free jazz weirdos like François Tusques, whose La Chasse Au Snark (or "The Hunting of the Snark", a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll that gave us the overused 00s-era word "snark" (it was the "gaslight" of its day)) was recently reissued by Finders Keepers. The track I play, Sa Triste Histoire Il S'Offrit à Dire ("His Sad Story He Offers To Tell") should appeal to fans of the raw, minimalist, extremely early version of Steve Reich's Drumming which was unearthed by Superior Viaduct a few years back.

Plus, the psychedelicized late-80s industrial sound of Deafkids & Petbrick; the goofily named (though since they're from a non-English-speaking country I give them a pass) Sex Blender, with a motorik epic; Spanish 4th World pioneer Suso Saiz collaborates with Dutch producer Suzanne Kraft; and Zoviet France co-founder Robin Storey's solo ethno-ambient project Rapoon has one of its best albums reissued.

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* Not on Spotify:
OZO - Hydra
Special Cases - It's So Easy

:Episode One Hundred Ninety-Nine: 8.4.2020

Konstrukt-Otomo
Konstrukt & Otomo Yoshihide: Just your typical Turkish/Japanese fusion jazz ensemble.

Among this week's highlights:

I haven't been to San Diego in a number of years, so this might have changed, but it seemed to me a city stuck - in the best possible way - in the 70s. The fact that the centerpiece of UC San Diego is the Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel Library, a brutalist masterpiece which looks like a locale from a 1970s dystopian sci-fi film is testament enough to this fact. Look anywhere, however, and you'll find the city has never totally shed the 101 shades of brown, all-lowercase logo, pop-psychedelic aesthetic of that era (and which contrasts directly with its northern neighbor, L.A., which seems similarly trapped in the neon glare of the 80s). Appropriately, its music scene is one of the last redoubts of 70s-era psychedelic RAWK, which is reflected in the San Diego Sessions, by the Ellis/Munk Ensemble. The album pairs El Paraiso label head Jonas Munk with Brian Ellis (of Astra and various other bands) and a who's who of local musicians, for an album of Mahavishnu Orchestra-ish psych-prog (sorry, but it's not quite Bitches Brew, despite the comparisons of the press kit).

This is all-but forgotten now, but there was in the 90s something of a remnant of the reactionary anti-disco sentiment of the early 80s, which, since disco had in the intervening years morphed into "electronica" (as it was known then), was directed at that genre. In particular, I remember a proliferation of buttons and bumper stickers taking aim at drum machines, as though they were threatening to entirely usurp human drummers. God knows how many Ford Econolines (the official touring van of that era) I saw with a "Death to Drum Machines" decal wedged between a K Records shield and a Matador pennant. Anyhow, I don't have any compelling reason for bringing up this little footnote from the recent history of popular music other than I'm reminded of it whenever I encounter an electronic artist who eschews drum machines in favor of real drums, as is the case with Russia's Coral Club.

Why does Europe get all the good psychedelic/avant-garde festivals? There's no lack of music festivals in the U.S. (well, in non-pandemic years, anyhow), but the majority are devoted to either a blend of pop music and whatever passes for indie rock these days or blues (every U.S. city with a population of at least 50,000 is required by federal law to have an annual blues festival, so that their resident Baby Boomers have at least one concert a year they feel comfortable attending). I'd kill for something like the U.K.'s Tusk Festival, so that I could see performances like that of Konstrukt & Otomo Yoshihide's, an epic free fusion-jazz freakout that, like the Ellis/Munk Ensemble, evokes the psychedelic tail-end of jazz's post-war heyday.

Plus, White Manna's latest, ARC, is probably their best (and Krautiest) album to date; Anthroprophh take us on a neo-garagey toilet circuit (whatever that is); Vestals makes lovely avant-pop; and the ridiculously prolific Bill Laswell has an album from his 90s ethno-ambient period reissued.

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Bonus Playlist: Summer Sell-Out

Sabbath
Black Sabbath: I prefer their "tasseled jumpsuit" era, myself.

As long-time listeners to this show know, I very rarely play "the hits", i.e. songs by psychedelic or psychedelic-leaning bands that get mainstream radio airplay (e.g. anything by Zep, Sabbath, et. al). But it isn't that I don't like or listen to that stuff. It's just that I don't want to use up any of my precious airtime on music you could hear nearly anywhere else when I could be playing field recordings of repetitive, ritual chanting, say. However, just this once (though it might become a periodic feature, like my all-vinyl shows - which this also is, by the way) I'm breaking from the norm, and giving you jerks a set full of "melody" and "hooks" and the like.

A few notes:

Black Sabbath - Hole in the Sky: I've made the comment before, regarding the Brown Acid series, that it documents what happened to Nuggets-era bands in the 70s, when they replaced whimsy with sleaze. You can see this phenomenon in other 60s-era bands, too, including Sabbath, who slowly shed their initial pagan, ritualistic dark magic affectations and replaced them with references to drugged-out, disco-era hedonism (starting around Vol. 4 - see "Snowblind" for a particularly overt example). By Sabotage (their last great album), Ozzy was on the cusp of his "snort a line of ants" phase of drug use, and the band had locked into the fuzzed-out, heavy-lidded groove that would come to define the phrase "stoner metal." And while the highlight of the albums is probably the decade-before-its-time ripper "Symptom of the Universe," my personal favorite is "Hole in the Sky," which just oozes Me Decade decadence. I can almost taste a Harvey Wallbanger and feel shag carpeting beneath my feet while listening to it.

David Crosby - Cowboy Movie: Despite appearing on dozens of albums during the 60s and 70s, David Crosby only released one solo record during that period, 1971's If I Could Only Remember My Name (which he wouldn't follow up until 1989). It's a fascinating album, full of nearly Eno-ian sound sketches (including the haunting closer, I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here, an a capella number that prefigures Grouper, Lichens, and other vocal-centric avant-garde acts) and intimate, delicately-textured folk elegies. Probably the only proper rock tune to be found is Cowboy Movie, the best Neil Young song not written by Neil Young (who appears elsewhere on the album).

Graham Central Station - Earthquake: Graham Central Station are known mostly for their slap-bass heavy (Larry Graham being a pioneer of the style) dancefloor-ready funk, so I have no idea what inspired this feedback-drenched psychedelic monster. Perhaps it was meant by Graham as a shot across the bow of contemporaries George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, to remind them that, as a former member of Sly & The Family Stone (whose There's A Riot Going On is one of the druggiest albums of the era), he would take a backseat to no one, when it came to spaced-out burners.

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* Not on Spotify:
Great Society Mind Destroyers - Divinorium

:Episode One Hundred Ninety-Eight: 8.21.2020

J. Zunz
J. Zunz: Don't call her obsolete (or Lorelle)

Among the highlights of this week's show:

As someone who came of age in that decade, I think I can state fairly assuredly that there is something ineffably 90s about Brent, the latest album from Saskatoon, Canada's only band (I mean, I'd assume), The Switching Yard. It's not just the cover art, either, a blurry photo (a staple of 90s indie records) decorated with an MS Paint signature/doodle. I think it's the sort of "end of history" survey of styles so common at that time: a little garage rock, a little space rock, a little shoegaze. There are even a few "skits," (one of which cleverly mashes up Cheech and Chong's "Dave" routine with 2001: A Space Odyssey) which were more a 90s hip-hop thing, but whatever.

Hibiscus, the second album by J. Zunz (aka Lorena Quintanilla of Mexican psych duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete) which, if I didn't know better, could easily believe was a lost avant-garde minimal-wave album from the early 80s. But not the mechanical, herky-jerky synth-punk exemplified by Bureau B's Sowas Von Egal series. More the dubbed-out, space-y meanderings of Pop Group/Slits supergroup New Age Steppers.

Three sleepy-eyed titans of ambience - Laraaji, Ariel Kalma, and Bill Callahan - join with Texas ASMR-core trio Dallas Acid for the first single from a collaborative album they're calling The Bubble Club, Vol. 1. There are a few other notables from the ambient/avant-garde world involved (including members of the Pixies and Gang Gang Dance) and all proceeds from its sale (you name your price on their Bandcamp page) go to charity. It's our era's answer to the Concert for Bangladesh, I guess.

Plus, the potentially Star Wars-referencing Spaceslug with some proggy stoner metal, the sitar-rock of New Zealand's Lamp of the Universe, the Kraut-y strangeness of Spiral Galaxy, and the MIDI-fied minimalism of Montreal's Markus Floats.

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* Not on Spotify:
The Switching Yard - Endless Fever
The Lamp of the Universe - Beams of Ra
Spiral Galaxy - Tragique Mechanique

:Episodes One Hundred Eighty-Eight:
:to One Hundred Ninety-Seven:

Banshee
Banshee: DUDEZ ROCK
 

I've been busy this summer (Among other things, I won America's second-largest crossword tournament - what the hell did you do?) and sort of let the writing of these capsules get away from me. So to get caught up, I'm doing micro-scale versions of ten of them.

188

I hate to get all early-00s Vice Magazine when it comes to record reviews, but I think Banshee's Livin' In The Jungle merits a FUCK DUDE THIS RIPS. A sweaty, funky, heavily psychedelic synthesis of pretty much everything great about 70s rock and a strong album of the year candidate for sure. There's also a fairly solid new single from Kikagaku Moyo, and Portland's own Golden Retriever teams up with avant-folk guitarist Chuck Johnson for some electro-acoustic ambient bliss.

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189

This episode features not one but two Sun City Girls-adjacent projects: the mysterious Ak'chamel, The Giver of Illness, which I don't think actually involves either of the brothers Bishop, but may as well because it basically sounds like Torch of the Mystics-era SCG; and Dwarfs of East Agouza, who include Alan Bishop as a member, and whose new Middle Eastern-inflected, free jazz/avant-garde freakout The Green Dogs of Dahshur is another of my album of the year candidates. There's also the recently reissued Technodrome, by Motohiko Hamase, which is an approximation of the album Jaco Pastorius never lived to make with Jon Hassell in the early 90s.

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190

This show begins with a song from Mos/Fet, the French band Orgöne's hour-plus opus of prog-metal (but not contemporary prog-metal a la Tool or System of a Down; more like freaky 70s prog - Magma, specifically - gone metal). Plus, you have Portland's own Moon Duo, doing their early-90s trip-hoppy version of Black Sabbath's Planet Caravan, from an album of Sabbath covers forthcoming on Sacred Bones (although the greatest Sabbath cover ever remains 1000 Homo DJs version of Supernaut). And there's a track from the recently reissued Colossus, by the 70s Australian avant-garde electronic group Cybotron (not to be confused with the Detroit techno Cybotron, who though I've never played them on the show - too dance-y, I'm afraid - are actually pretty spaced out in their own right)

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191

Among the highlights of the obligatory, opening rock and/or roll set (you'll have to pry rock from my cold, dead stereo - I'm like Bruce McCulloch in this, one of my all-time favorite KITH sketches) are Norway's Undergrünnen, with a psychedelic, Scandinavian take on afrobeat, and Mexico's Linda Guilala, with some saccharine-sweet shoegaze. A little later, we hear an excerpt from a 40-minute-long EP by Grand Veymont, which, if you can get past the fact that it sounds EXACTLY like early Stereolab, is actually some pretty great Harmonia-ish neo-Krautrock. Also appearing are Uganda's Nihiloxica, a band comprised of four percussionists and two synth players, which I guess makes them bleepy-bloopy...bangy?

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192

Leading off the show are the twee-fully named Hibiscus Biscuit (which sounds like a late-90s Belle & Sebastian side project) with some organ-driven early-70s-ish psych-prog, followed by the similarly fancifully named Aunt Cynthia's Cabin with some Witchcraft-ian early-Sabbath worship. Later on is one of the Spacemen 3, Sonic Boom, with a track from his first album in thirty years(!) Then, in the final set, we have some pandemic-inspired music (of which there will be much, I'm certain), a lengthy piece of ambience, from Carmen Villain.

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193

The show starts with a motorik synth-blast by Mexico's Par Ásito, followed by another band (a la Hibiscus Biscuit) with a ridiculously twee name - Marmalade Knives - making 70s-ish psych-prog, the Annette Peacock-inspired, jazzy art-rock of Brigid Dawson and The Mothers Network, and the frenetic afrobeat of Australia's Bananagun. Then, later on in the show, we get three tracks from a compilation released by National Geographic (who actually have put out music, off and on, since the early 70s) consisting of field recordings of bats (specifically of the sound waves they generate for purposes of echolocation) manipulated by all your favorite young avant-garde composers, including Christina Vantzou, John Also Bennett, and Noveller.

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194

This is somewhat a "lost" episode in that something happened to the HoS recording (it just disappeared about a week after I recorded it) though it lives on, without my commentary, on Spotify. The opening set is bookended by a pair of singles: one a nineteen-minute-long (eat your heart out Iron Butterfly) Euro-prog epic by France's Cannibale, and the other a 4:20 (duuude!) neo-garage gem by L.A.'s Frankie and the Witch Fingers, which exhibits the Afrobeat influence first demonstrated on last year's ZAM. But the heart of the show is the middle set, which I give over entirely to the music of the late, great Ennio Morricone, who passed away the week the show aired. This includes some deep cuts from the excellent, Alan Bishop-curated compilation Crime and Dissonance, as well as a track from my own vinyl copy of the soundtrack to The Thing (not on Spotify, sadly).

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195

This week's opening set includes long-running 70s-horror-soundtrack-inspired duo Zombi (the length of time they've existed (~20 years) is now equal to the span between the era whose sound they've strived to recreate and their founding (ca. 2000)... a fact that makes me feel rather old), Portland doom-metallers LáGoon, and three tracks from the most recent installment of the Brown Acid series, which documents the 70s aftermath of the Nuggets era, in which garage bands replaced whimsy with sleaze. There's also the country concrète of Daniel Bachman (from a release of archival material), the lovely guitar drone of Bhajan Boy (on a track featuring the Pacific Northwest's own Prana Crafter) and the lo-fi Kraut-funk of Taiwan's Mong Tong.

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196

Opening the show is Black Helium, with some rather heavy (ironic, given that they're named for a lighter-than-air element) psych-metal, followed a little later by a new single by the great John Carpenter (is there a better time to watch his "apocalypse trilogy": The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and In The Mouth of Madness?), a song that... has nothing to do with any of his cinematic endeavors, the first such in four years. There's also a bevy of great ambient tunes this episode as well, including the field-recording-augmented drones of Kenya's KMRU, the 4th-Worldian pop-ambient of Shackleton & Wacław Zimpel, the neo-kosmische of Autotelia, and the ultra-lo-fi buzz of Ashtray Navigations (from a retrospective of their twenty-seven year(!) career spanning four discs, each individually curated by a "celebrity" fan of the band, including Henry Rollins(?!))

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197

If you've listened to this show long enough, you probably have heard me reference "long psychedelic jams" which is something of an in-joke between myself and (periodic show guest) my brother regarding my taste in music. Well, British Hawkwind acolytes Psychic Lemon have recently released not one, but two volumes of long psychedelic (studio) jams, a track from which leads the show. We also get sunglasses rockers Nest Egg with a song named for Northwest legend D.B. Cooper (who, as I mention on the show, I believe was eaten by another Northwest legend, Sasquatch), yet another recently-unearthed album by Buchla synthesizer maestro Suzanne Ciani, and an extended piece of avant-electronic drone from Conrad Schnitzler's reissued late-70s masterpiece, CON.

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:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Seven: 5.15.2020

Sei Still
Sei Still: Not sunglasses rock, ironically enough.

Among the highlights of this week's show:

I've said before on the show that if I'm torn about what song to play off of a given album, and one of them has a motorik beat, that'll be the one I pick, more often than not. This decision-making process is undone, however, by the self-titled debut of Mexican band Sei Still, on which EVERY track has a motorik backing. I actually had a difficult time selecting a favorite, as their decision to use the same rhythm (more or less) for every composition, rather than rendering their sound one-note (or one-beat, as it were), appears to have sparked their creativity. When you can't rely on tempo as a way of distinguishing your songs (and I can't tell you how many mediocre bands I've played in where this would happen: "hey, that song sounds just like one of our other songs... maybe if we just sped it up a bit...") it forces you to diversify other elements of your sound: melody, texture, mood, etc. They aren't exactly NEU!, but they are among the better pretenders to Dinger and Rother's syncopated Teutonic throne.

A few weeks ago, I watched for the first time the documentary Junun, by Paul Thomas Anderson, about the Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and Radioheaded guitar dude Jonny Greenwood traveling to India to record an album with a bunch of traditional Rajasthani musicians. I'd definitely recommend it, as - like any good music doc should be - it's light on talk, heavy on rock (or, Indian and Middle-Eastern influenced, rock-adjacent world music, as it were) and shows off the rather impressive chops of everyone involved (as a Radiohead-disliker (hate is maybe too strong a word) I also chuckled at the eye-rolling from the Indian band members at Greenwood's contributions, which largely consisted of farty, distorted beats produced on his laptop). Why do I bring this up? Because Portuguese band HHY & The Macumbas have an oddly similar - if a bit more minimalist - sound, involving multiple percussionists, a horn section, and a clear affinity for the sounds of the Near East. They're almost a non-NPR-friendly version of the ensemble assembled for Junun, in fact.

Speaking of music documentaries, if you've ever seen I Dream of Wires, about the history of modular synthesizers, you're likely aware of the rivalry between Moog and Buchla, which came to something of a head in the late sixties, with the release of Switched-On Bach, performed on the Moog by Wendy Carlos (credited to Walter Carlos) and Silver Apples of The Moon, performed on the Buchla by Morton Subotnick. As the pro-Buchla talking heads of the film note, the former album consists solely of classical compositions reproduced electronically, while the latter is a wildly creative, avant-garde freakout. But, despite - or quite likely owing to - its near-complete lack of originality, Switched-On Bach was exponentially more successful (to this day I see copies of it and its numerous sequels in thrift stores) and was chief among the reasons Moog wound up crushing Buchla commercially. Anyhow, Subotnick's early-electronic masterpiece was given the deluxe vinyl reissue treatment a couple of years ago for its 50th anniversary, and now it's been re-reissued, for all the bleep-bloop-heads out there.

Plus, the sunglasses rock of the unfortunately named Alien Mustangs, the percussion-heavy psychedelic folk of Mamiffer, the recently reissued, Brian Eno-produced, psych-funk-tinged highlife of Edikanfo (an album I found in a thrift store - in Wisconsin of all places - on a cross-country road trip ages ago) and the abstract electronics of Echium, a self-described "archipelago of interlinked microcosmos", whatever that's supposed to mean.

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* Not on Spotify:
Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples of The Moon (Part Two)

:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Six: 5.8.2020

Radar Men From The Moon
RMFTM: Gee, I wonder which members were the ones who pushed for a more 80s sound.

Among the highlights of this week's show:

Apparently, the musical inclinations of U.K. psych/avant-garde stalwarts Gnod rubbed off onto Dutch space rockers Radar Men From The Moon during their recent collaboration (as Temple OV BBV), since they've subsequently adopted a similar 80s proto-industrial sound, a la early Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, or Caspar Brötzmann Massaker (who just had another of their albums reissued by Southern Lord, a track off of which I play in this episode). I never really dug this sort of stuff when I was younger - a little too screamy and harsh for my taste. But, as many of the bands, such as RMFTM, involved in its revivification are psychedelically-inclined, they tend to smooth over the more jagged edges that kept me away before.

Just in time for summer, the return of Swiss group L'Éclair and their psychedelic, retro jazz-funk stylings. The yacht-rock revival was somewhat lost on me, but not because I don't enjoy music that evokes late-70s, post-hippie decadence. I just prefer to imagine myself strolling down a garbage-strewn New York City street on a muggy, mid-summer evening en route to a disco than lolling on the deck of a pleasure craft, sipping on a Harvey Wallbanger or a Tequila Sunrise or some other noxious, Carter-era cocktail.

Drawn from an album meant to accompany an exhibition of art by the late Moki Cherry (wife of Don Cherry, and mother of Neneh and Eagle-Eye Cherry), a track of glistening, minimalistic, avant-garde drone by composer Maxwell Sterling. Embedded within it are samples of Don Cherry discussing his youth in Watts, Los Angeles, and his early interest in "primitive," hand-made instruments (which would of course be reflected in his music, on albums like Brown Rice or in the Organic Music Society project)

Plus, the spaced-out, Turkish-folk-influenced, synth-heavy drone of Anadol, the very-late-period Kosmische of Lapre, the twee, retro-synth song-sketches of Green-House, and the reissue of Jan Jelinek's second-best album (the best being Kosmischer Pitch).

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Five: 5.1.2020

Vinyl Records
The spoils of having been an avid thrift shopper when the Boomers were disposing of their vinyl.

Special All-Vinyl Mix Show

Once, in the Before Time, I used to periodically DJ at bars around town. This is an attempt to recreate one of these sets, both for the enjoyment of those trapped at home by the pandemic, and as an audition tape, of sorts, for when (if?) we return to "normal."

Highlights:

Spacemen 3 - Losing Touch With My Mind: My favorite song from what is perhaps the most literally-titled album of all time, "Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To." Six minutes of the Spacemen at their best, churning out variations on a theme, centered around Pete Bain's chugging bass.

The Jimmy Castor Bunch - L.T.D. (Life, Truth & Death): Taken from their most successful album, It's Just Begun, which I found sealed(!) in a thrift store when I was in college. Jimmy Castor is best known for his novelty songs (e.g. The Bertha Butt Boogie, King Kong), but he turned out some pretty legitimate jams as well, including It's Just Begun's title track (a staple of early hip-hop DJ's sets), and this number, a Latin-inflected, psychedelic burner.

Muddy Waters - She's All Right: I am convinced that if you figured out a way to remove Muddy Waters' voice and dub in Damo Suzuki's, you could convince the less-musically-aware that this is a lost CAN track. Neither the snaky, noodling guitar, the minimalist bass, nor the thumping, caveman-style drums would've sounded out of place on an outtake from Ege Bamyasi, say. Also, if someone can offer an explanation as to why the band plays a few bars of "My Girl" during the coda, I'd love to hear it.

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* Not on Spotify:
Well, most of it is on there, but I didn't make a Spotify playlist for this episode, since it seemed to defeat the purpose of recording a live mix.

:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Four: 4.24.2020

Die Wilde Jagd
Die Wilde Jagd: German for "The Wild Jagd".

Among the highlights of this week's show:

The pulsating, chanting outro (which I have chosen to use as an intro) to the most recent album by neo-Krautrock outfit Die Wilde Jagd, which is one of those Built To Spill/NIN/Smashing Pumpkins-type bands where it's technically just the work of one dude.

Some more Kraut-ish type rock (it reminds me more of Krauty Swedes Harvester than any German Krautrock band) from Michiganders (one of my favorite state demonyms) Dire Wolves.

That VU/JAMC/BRMC-ish sunglasses rock that I can never say no to, from Germans Pretty Lightning. It has a distinct Southern-rock twang to it, however, that makes it sound a bit like Cosmo's Factory played at 16 rpm.

Plus, the latest from seminal dronesmiths Windy & Carl, more world music-influenced guitar picking from Portland's own Sir Richard Bishop, and the dark, new-wavey shoegaze of This Is Nowhere (who everybody knows, at least according to Neil Young).

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Three: 4.17.2020

Monkey Chant
Monkey Chant: Cha...cha...cha... chchchchchchachachachacha!

Special All-Vinyl, All-Drone 4/20 observed show

As has been the case the past few years, I'm observing 4/20 (the closest thing we have to a national psychedelic holiday) with an episode dedicated entirely to longform droooooooooooooones, played exclusively from vinyl.

The highlight for me this year is the Ramayana Monkey Chant, which I've been dying to play for years, but that I didn't want to inflict on any of my less-adventurous listeners (I alluded to this on air, but I didn't want the station to get besieged with complaints the way WFMU did when they played Ritual Mouth Organs of the Murung, another notoriously challenging field recording) I try to save the truly far-out stuff for this particular episode, and it doesn't get much freakier than twenty-plus minutes of repetitious chanting. Those interested in either a preview, or a visual accompaniment, should check out this clip from the (must-watch) film Baraka (which I got to see in glorious 70mm in January, during the last months of the Before Time, at the Hollywood Theatre here in Portland)

Plus, an excerpt from a very early performance of Steve Reich's seminal percussion piece Drumming, the obscure protest fusion-jazz album Love Cry Want (performed in a park across from the Nixon White House - I fully support any attempt to do something similar for the benefit of that building's current occupant) and drone episode (and Space Program) mainstay, Expo 70.

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Everything! It's the all-vinyl show!

:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Two: 4.10.2020

Felicia Atkinson
Felicia Atkinson: "ASMR Auteur" hard (but verrrrry quietly) at work.

Among the highlights of this week’s show:

A new single from the band Maserati who... I think (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here) draw quite a bit of inspiration from late-90s/early-00s post-rock/electro-revival trio Trans Am. They have the same latter-day, circa-80s Krautrock (e.g. Zero Set, Neu! 86), sound, with the same veneer of 80s hard rock cheese, and even share their name with a car strongly associated with that decade (although Maseratis were more of a yuppie car, while Trans Ams were sort of the working man's Corvette).

The recently-reissued Population II (don't bother looking for a Population I, by the way. The title is a reference to the number of musicians involved) by early-70s hard-rock iconoclast Randy Holden. When I first seriously started getting into psychedelic music in college, this was one of those out-of-print, whispered-over holy grails ("yeah man, it's this guy who got kicked out of Blue Cheer for - get this - bein' too fuckin' loud!") that didn't quite live up the hype when I finally heard it, but that's still a worthwhile listen for any true head.

A really lovely, longform avant-garde piece by Felicia Atkinson, featuring a bit of low-end rumble by Sunn O))) dude Stephen O'Malley. I think I described it on air, jokingly, as being "for fans of ASMR" and then came to find out that Felicia Atkinson is now referring to herself as an "ASMR auteur." There's got to be a compound German word for joking about something and then finding out it's true, like jokenundfindenaufdasistreal, or something.

Plus, new psychedelic punk by Flat Worms, a reissue of doom metal supergroup Shrinebuilder's (including members of The Melvins, Sleep/Om, and Neurosis) sole album, and some jazz-inflected French avant-garde by NWW collaborator Jac Berrocal.

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Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Eighty-One: 4.3.2020

Pigsx7
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: They're dying to "meat" you. Hey-ohhhh!

Among the highlights of this week’s show:

The latest - salvo, fusillade, blast… choose your favorite eruptive metaphor since metal albums are always likened to explosions in the music press - from the UK’s Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. They’re the rare contemporary psychedelic metal band that doesn’t sound like they take the majority of their cues from either Sabbath, Sleep/Om, or (increasingly) Tool. But, if I can use Sabbath, the band that created a genre template perhaps more defining than any other, as comparison, I’d say that if Uncle Acid is Volume 4 then Pigsx7 are Sabotage: a bit rawer, a bit more adventurous.

An album that isn’t a new release, or even a reissue, but rather just one I’ve been listening to a lot lately that I’ve never played on the show before: the late, great Tony Conrad’s 2012 team-up with Canadian avant-garde duo Hangedup. It’s the same Kraut-y, psychedelic drone as found on Outside The Dream Syndicate, his 1973 album with Faust, but in a slightly more discrete form.

More spaced-out, minimalist avant-jazz from Australia’s The Necks. I don’t know if live music is going to exist after the pandemic, but if it does, I’d like to see a combined tour by The Heads, The Necks, and The Body. The Complete Anatomy Experience, they can call it.

Plus, a new, more synthified Sun Araw, the avant-metal of Spotlights, and the drowned-in-German Oak-levels-of-echo sunglasses rock of Davi Rodriguez de Lima.

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Eighty: 3.27.2020

Ariel Kalma
Ariel Kalma: Ah, the 70s, when looking like a middle school math teacher wasn't an impediment to a musical career.

Among the highlights of this week’s show:

An absolutely incredible, nearly twenty-minute long dirge by Sweden’s Kungens Män that sounds like Hawkwind if, after they had kicked out Lemmy for doing a little too much speed for their taste (there’s a great clip from the BBC Hawkwind documentary in which he says something like “I didn’t get kicked out for doing drugs. I got kicked out for doing the wrong drugs.”), they had brought in someone equally as dependent on quaaludes. Space rock at a glacial pace.

Ariel Kalma, one of my favorite avant-garde artists, teams up with Australian weirdo Gilbert Cohen to make some… 4th World IDM, is the best way I can think to describe it, I guess. It’s also quite 90s-sounding (I can easily imagine an early Friends episode in which we see Phoebe meditating in her room with this on in the background) which will either diminish or enhance your enjoyment of it, depending on how you feel about that decade (as listeners know, I am not a fan).

A track from Jon Hassell’s recently reissued debut album, Vernal Equinox, which bears more resemblance to the quieter moments on Don Cherry’s Brown Rice than to his later, slightly busier 4th World work. This minimalism, combined with ample use of reverb, gives its music a psychedelic tenor not nearly as pronounced in his subsequent material.

Plus, the Swiss, Krauty post-punk of Massicot, the electro-acoustic doom of Helen Money, and the Neil Young-ian Chris Forsyth teams up with the Grateful Dead-ian Garcia Peoples for an album of avant-freedom rock!

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Nine: 3.13.2020

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: "Wood-paneled electronics" I think works as a description of her sound.

Among the highlights of this week’s show:

A brand new, orchestrally-accented, ten-minute-long “single” from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, providing a sample of her forthcoming album. To my relief, her minimalist Buchla stylings don’t get lost amidst the additional instrumentation (including a small choir). Reminiscent of Alice Coltrane’s later work, on which the synthesizer was her primary instrument, and she was backed chorally by members of the ashram at which she served as Swamini.

An incredible seven minute staccato guitar workout by Horse Lords, an avant-garde-leaning post-rock group from Baltimore. This is what Tortoise might’ve sounded like if they had completely set aside their pop sensibilities. There’s the same jazzy, rhythm-centric, world-influenced sensibility, but screwed down as tight as the bolts on a NASA rocket. One of my favorite albums so far this year.

The psychedelic afrobeat of Minneapolis’s Black Market Brass. We hear a ten minute long, two-part piece, nearly prog-like in its complexity, that sounds a bit like Fela Kuti and one of his various combos taking on Steve Reich’s Drumming.

There’s also the instrumental, Ash Ra-ish synth-folk of Tucson’s Trees Speak, some spiritual avant-jazz by Shabaka and the Ancestors, and just in time for the pandemic, a track from Gil Melle’s early electronic score to 1971’s The Andromeda Strain.

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Eight: 3.6.2020

Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin: How can I not play a band named for the original Space Cadet?

Opening this week's show is some blown-out, Hawkwindian space rock courtesy of Sweden's Yuri Gagarin (named, of course, for the first human to manage to get the hell off this rock... although he foolishly chose to return), with a track named "Oneironaut", a word that means "one who travels through dreams" (and which I've never encountered before, despite doing the NYT Crossword, that font of arcane vocabulary, every day for the past fifteen years). After this is the Uncle Acid/Witchcraft-esque Sabbath worship of Hazemaze, the retro-modern Europrog of Italy's Giöbia, and the avant-garage of Portland's own Lavender Flu. Then, wrapping up the set are Islet, whose spaced-out art rock I enjoy in spite of it reminding me of Radiohead.

A few episodes ago, I mentioned that I will generally play anything that reminds me of The Stooges' Funhouse, and I make good on that vow with the track that leads the middle set, a scorching, sax-heavy slab of improvised rock from the UK's OZO. Following this is the inventive, French-Canadian 70s prog of Franck Dervieux, some 90s-era African Head Charge (whose latter-day career has been anthologized in the form of a new box set), and the minimal jazz-funk of Turkey's Matao.

The final set starts with an absolutely lovely electronic sound sketch by longtime Einstürzende Neubauten percussionist Rudolf Moser, followed by Japanese avant-garde legends Inoyama Land, whose 1983 classic Danzindan-Pojidon has recently been reissued by WRWTFWW. Next is the woozy, slightly-askew electro-pop of Electric Sewer Age, one of umpteen-zillion Coil side projects, the Harmonia-ish (Harmonic?), jazzy, instrumental Krautrock of Holden & Zimpel (another ambient duo that includes a clarinet player, a la Aidan Baker and Gareth Davis), and the West Coast, analog ambience of L.A.'s Celia Hollander. Then, closing the show out is the shuffling, buzzing, early-80s minimal-wave of Canadians Ceramic Hello.

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* Not on Spotify:
OZO - Nuclear Fuel

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Seven: 2.28.2020

Oiseaux-Tempête
Oiseaux-Tempête: Let's see... 3/4 of the band in overcoats, two in scarves, one smoking, one carrying a satchel for some reason... yep, they're French.

This week's show starts with Parisian band Oiseaux-Tempête (which means, literally, "Birds-Storm" in French, but which I suspect translates to either "storm birds" or "storm of birds"... in either case, cool name, frères!) whose Swans-ian dark, orchestral rock provides the soundtrack to a Tunisian film currently making the festival circuit. Following this is UK avant-rock supergroup Sex Swing (featuring members of Space Program favorite Mugstar, and underrated avant-metal group Part Chimp) with the new, evocatively titled single "Valentine's Day at the Gym." Then we get the Melvins-circa-Bullhead, lo-fi weirdo-drone-metal of Philadelphia's Queen Elephantine, the psychedelic punk of the UK's The Soft Walls, and the instrumental, early-Hawkwind-esque, radio-friendly space rock of the also-from-the-UK Japanese Television. Then, wrapping up the rock set are mysterious Swedes OCH (between them and GOAT... are these Swedish bands who disguise their members' individual identities reflecting their nation's collectivist politics?) whose new album of Cluster/Harmonia-inspired instrumental Krautrock I've been listening to non-stop the past week.

Opening the middle set is WaqWaq Kingdom, a pair of Japanese electronic music producers based out of Germany, whose new album is... overall, a little too techno for my taste (I have an aversion to the genre due to the fact that in the late 90s, the mainstream music press was obsessed with the idea that rock was dead, and would soon be swept away by shitty, rock-sampling, European club music, a la The Prodigy) but which closes with the incredible, ten minute long neo-Kosmische/4th World epic heard here. After this is the cinematic avant-jazz of the UK's Pulled By Magnets, an avant-garde keyboard composition by Jon Gibson (who just had a retrospective of his mid-70s work issued by Superior Viaduct - highly recommended if you're a fan of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, et al.), and some contemporary Middle Eastern post-rock by Beirut's Kinematik. Coming after is underground 90s-era Ukranian duo Svitlana Nianio & Oleksandr Yurchenko, whose sound is reminiscent of a somewhat earthier, Desert Shore-era Nico. Ending the set is Alabaster DePlume with a short, haunting sampling of his new album of spiritual jazz released on Chicago label International Anthem.

The final set begins with a track from John Carpenter collaborator Daniel Davies (who is also Carpenter's godson, as well as the actual son of Kinks' co-founder Dave Davies), which is somehow more John Carpenter-y than his mentor's more recent work (or rather, it's more reminiscent of Carpenter's early, most iconic material, e.g. the soundtracks to Halloween and Escape From New York). Following this is avant-electronic supergroup (two supergroups in one episode... what, am I some sort of musical MCU here?) Wrangler - who include among their ranks retro-synth obsessive Benge and a former member of Cabaret Voltaire - with a bit of burbly, mumbly, electronic/spoken word drone. Up next is the dubby Norwegian producer Carmen Villain, followed by 90s-era 4AD act His Name Is Alive (a.k.a. Warren Defever), with a lovely instrumental from one of the two albums of archival demo material he just released. Closing things out are the freak-folk infulenced Isabella, with an excerpt from her strangely lovely recent song-suite, Magnetica, and Danish duo Loke Rahbek & Frederik Valentin with an electro-acoustic, instrumental avant-pop gem.

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Six: 2.21.2020

Terry Riley ticket
Terry Riley: I'll be lucky if I can remember my name at 85, let alone headline jazz festivals.

Leading off the show this week is the slow-burning, instrumental, spaced-out rock (that's not exactly space rock, however) of Sweden's Domboshawa (aka Anders Broström), from the album "Five," one of two albums he released last year, each titled after the number of songs it comprises (the other being "Fyra," Swedish for four). After this is the heavy shoegaze of Scotland's Helicon, the psychedelic folk-rock of Turkey's Ayyuka, the Madchester-y (Madcunian?) pop-psych of Canadians Elephant Stone, and the folksy experimentalism of Six Organs of Admittance. Closing out the set is the freaked-out sound of Middle Eastern supergroup Karkhana (which includes members of Space Program-approved groups Dwarfs of East Agouza, Konstrukt, and Land of Kush) whose recent release, Bitter Balls, is one of the more inventive, genuinely challenging avant-garde rock albums I've heard in some time.

The middle set is given over entirely to the music of Terry Riley, a true titan of 20th Century avant-garde music (in a more just world, he'd be as well known as Philip Glass or Brian Eno, both of whom he influenced), in honor of his playing in Portland the date this episode aired. I was in attendance - it was the first time I've ever seen him perform, despite being a fan most of my adult life - and was suitably awed. Unbelievably spry for a man of 85 (my own grandfather, by contrast, had lost the ability to perform even the most menial tasks by that age), he deftly alternated between a synthesizer and a custom-tuned piano, improvising upon classic compositions (I recognized motifs from Les Yeux Fermés and Songs For The Ten Voices of The Two Prophets) while accompanied on guitar by his son Gyan. Given the inventiveness he's retained at his advanced age, it's easy to see how in years past he was able to stage marathon, ad-libbed solo performances, such as that documented on Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band All Night Flight.

The final set, as usual given over to electronic music, begins with the unexpected but welcome collaboration between Jan St. Werner, of Mouse on Mars as well as his own extensive solo career, and the late Mark E. Smith, of The Fall. Smith, godfather of the "stream-of-sarcastic-consciousness" style of vocal performance that's only ever seemed to take hold in the UK (The Sleaford Mods are probably the most prominent modern exemplars of it), delivers rants as bizarre as ever, while Werner provides synthesized backing. The set and show then conclude with the avant-garde 80s-era synth-pop of Japan's Masumi Hara, recently reissued by Numero Group, the remixed found sounds of Aki Onda, from an album of archival recordings, and the blissed-out ambience of Causa Sui member and El Paraiso Records impresario Jonas Munk.

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* Not on Spotify:
Terry Riley - Return of the Ancestors

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Five: 2.14.2020

Amirtha Kidambi
Amirtha Kidambi & Elder Ones: Proving "World Music" doesn't have to mean Clinton-era, Enya-fied Borders Cafe ambience.

We begin this week with Kanaan, a Norwegian neo-prog trio who are joined on their most recent album by Causa Sui member and El Paraiso label head Jonas Munk, whose presence on guitar complements the somewhat more classically metal-leaning sound on display (it wouldn't surprise me if they were listening to a lot of Captain Beyond, or some other heavier 70s prog, at the time they recorded it). Following this are Finns Meteor Vortex with some stoner prog (and if you're a fan of loo-oo-oong songs, like me, this ten-plus minute epic is one of the shorter numbers from their latest album), and the long-dormant Sunburned Hand of the Man with some ambling freak-folk. Concluding the set is Swiss Krautrock obscurity Kedama, whose early discography (i.e. one album and a whole bunch of unreleased tracks) is being issued as a box set by Castle Face Records. It's not hard to see how they caught the ear of label head John Dwyer, as their frenetic, lo-fi take on 70s European prog mirrors that of many of his garage-oriented imprint's more recent releases.

The middle set is usually reserved for jazz, world, and avant-garde, and leading it this week is a song that, across seventeen minutes, manages to incorporate elements of all three. Amirtha Kidambi is the artist responsible, a composer and performer from NYC, whose sprawling, classically-Indian influenced song-suites I recommend with the following caveat: she has a tendency (unfortunate, in my mind) to stray into Norah Jones-ian easy-listening pop-jazz, using a sultry-voiced, scat-like singing style that modern advertising has conditioned me, in a Pavlovian manner, to associate with blended coffee drinks. Next is the Snekkestad/Guy/Fernandez trio, the latest export from the free jazz hotbed that is Oslo, Norway (seriously: somehow, the two primary Norwegian musical exports are ultra-grim black metal and ridiculously far-out free jazz), followed by a track from the excellent solo electronic-music-influenced jazz debut of UK drummer Moses Boyd. Ending the set is free-jazz legend Albert Ayler, whose Spiritual Unity has been reissued yet again, so every aspiring young jazzbo can have their requisite vinyl copy of this avant-garde holy grail.

Speaking of necessary reissues, the final, electronic-oriented set leads off with a track from Heldon, the tremendous French synth/prog/Kraut band whose final three albums have been repressed by Bureau B. Aside from their debut, their three record career coda is the most essential part of their discography, as it coincides with Richard Pinhas forming a live band (it had been a strictly studio-based project prior) to give some oomph to his Frippian noodlings. After this is Portugese, former Not Not Fun label artist Pedro Magina with some tropical pop ambience, and Ohioan Jacoti Sommes with a very spaced-out, vintage-sounding analog synth piece. Next is Latvian composer and artist Sign Libra, on whose most recent release, for vowel-hating label RVNG, every song is titled for a lunar mare (and, as I've mentioned before, while giving your music space-related names doesn't automatically guarantee I'll play it, it definitely doesn't hurt). Then, closing the set, and the show, is Kelpe, the alter ego of producer Kel McKeown, with an Another Green World-ian sound sketch.

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* Not on Spotify:
Amirtha Kidambi & Elder Ones - Kali Yuga

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Four: 2.7.2020

Lastryko
Lastryko: Sounds like the name of a Cold War baddie in an 80s action film ("I'll get you, Col. Lastryko!") but it's just the Polish word for terrazzo.

The show opens with the pounding drums of Poland's Lastryko, from their most recent album of Kraut-y post-rock (a little musical semantic hand-wringing here: there's a bit of a post-rock revival afoot (making it... post-post-rock?) and I feel slightly conflicted describing members of this movement as Krautrock-influenced, since a lot of the original post-rock bands, e.g. Tortoise, Trans Am, were in some ways a second, American wave of Krautrock. But at the same time, it can be a useful descriptor, since post-rock is a pretty broad term, and encompasses bands like the Sea and Cake, who are much more influenced by fusion jazz than avant-garde rock). Following this are NYC psych-folksters Elkhorn with a track from their latest album, The Storm Sessions, which they recorded while snowed in to their home studio. After that are Austrian band Johnny and the Rotten with some Stooge-ian psychedelic punk, a bit of proto-doom (predating Sabbath by three years!) from L.A. Nuggets-era band Clear Light, and finally, the legendary Bardo Pond, with a track from their recently reissued 2010 self-titled album, that shows off my favorite of their various musical modes, which is a Melvins-ish wall of sludge leavened by an MBV-ish ethereality.

The middle set starts with another long-overdue reissue (as with the Deep Listening Band's debut, heard last week), in the form of Fourth-World innovator Jon Hassell's 1988 collaboration with Burkina Faso percussion group Farafina. For those of you who enjoy Hassell's work, but sometimes wish, as I do, that it had a bit more forward momentum, this album is for you, as Farafina provide ample amounts of it. Next is Peruvian artist Tomás Tello, who avant-garde-ifies (that's a verb, right?) the traditional sounds of his native land, followed by Nigerian-born, London-based musician LA Timpa, with some spaced-out pop, and the Tara Clerkin Trio, with some dub-influenced jazz. Then, rounding out the set are a couple of Canadians (eh, sore-y, what's that all a-boat, you hoser): namely, Calgary-based, genderqueer artist Cindy Lee, who performs avant-garde pop that leans hard on the avant-y aspects (not a lot of pop songs with minutes-long feedback breakdowns), and the insanely prolific Torontoan Aidan Baker, who combines his trademark doomgaze guitar sound with the clarinet stylings of Gareth Davis (for the skeptical: while fuzzed-out guitar and clarinet don't exactly seem, on paper, like the musical version of chocolate and peanut butter, man do they go suprisingly well together).

The loo-ooo-oong tracks of the week come in the electronic portion of the show, in the form of the neo-Kosmische of Turku, Finland's E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr and Germany's Cosmic Ground. In between them is the palate-cleansing minimal electronics of Japanese avant-garde legend Hiroshi Yoshimura, from his newly-reissued (yet again, by Portland's own Empire of Signs label, run by the members of Visible Cloaks) ambient classic Music For Nine Post Cards. Then, wrapping up the episode is a little pop ambient gem by longtime NIN member Alessandro Cortini and British producer Daniel Avery.

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* Not on Spotify:
Cosmic Ground - Azimuth/Drowning

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Three: 1.31.2020

Deep Listening Band
Deep Listening Band: OHMIGOD I LOVE THEIR TOTALLY 90S GRUNGE STYLE!!!

This week's show starts off with a track from the most recent album by Kungens Män (which translates to King's Men in Swedish, meaning that they have the same name as the band that put Portland on the map, back in the day) who, like nearly all contemporary Swedish psych bands, have a sound reminiscent of the Pärson Sound/Harvester/Träd, Gräs & Stenar continuum that formed the backbone of the 1960s/70s Scandinavian avant-garde scene. After this is the first contemporary Hungarian band I believe I've ever played on my show, Budapest's Lemurian Folk Songs, who provide an fine example of a somewhat overlooked genre: stoner prog (think Sabbath Bloody Sabbath/Sabotage-era Black Sabbath or Sleep/Om). Then we get some VU/JAMC/BRMC sunglasses rock by Uruguay's Las Cobras, a new single by Space Program favorites Endless Boogie (still boogie-ing, endlessly, to that singular ZZ Top meets Beefheart sound), and finally a sample of the fascinating collage of 70s pop detritus - the influences include, somehow, both early electrofunk/R&B and Neil Youngian ramble-folk - that is Matt Valentine's newest album.

The middle set opens with a song from the recently reissued, self-titled debut (of sorts) of the Deep Listening Band, aka the late, great Pauline Oliveros and her collaborators Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis. It's nothing but the three of them doing their minimal, 20th century avant-garde composer thing in an empty cistern in Port Townsend, Washington (not too far from the land of sparkly teenage vampires) in the late 80s, and is one of my favorite ambient records of all time. Following this is neo-Kosmische act Arp performing live with his very 70s fusion-jazz Ensemble, and the timeless, latter-day Krautrock (from 1983) exercise in electronics and percussion that is Moebius, Plank, and Neumeier's Zero Set. Then we get legendary weirdo Alain Neffe, founder of underground label Insane Music, with some... well, weirdness, of the 80s minimal synth variety (known, contemporaneously, as "darkwave"), featuring his frequent collaborator Bene Gesserit (a Dune-referencing name that you'll all be familiar with after the latest stab at adapting Frank Herbert's Lawrence of Arabia in Space hits cinemas this Christmas). Speaking of which, we finish up the set with numbers from the OSTs to two sci-fi films: Colin Stetson's fantastic, avant-garde synth 'n' sax score to the Nic Cage-starring H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Color out of Space (listen to the show for my less-than-glowing review of the film - the music is the best part, to my mind); and the WRWTFWW release of Tom Raybould's kosmische-y soundtrack to obscure 2013 film The Machine.

Finally, since it wouldn't be an episode of the Space Program without a few ridiculously loooo-ooo-oooong numbers, the last set consists of a mere two songs: the title track from Nihonjin, the freshly repressed debut of Far Out (who would go on to become Far East Family Band, often referred to as "Japan's Pink Floyd"), a great example of early, non-self-indulgent 70s prog; and a cut from Ivar Grydeland & Henry Kaiser's album of minimal guitar stylings, In The Arctic Dreamtime.

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* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Two: 1.24.2020

Oulu Space Jam Collective
Oulu Space Jam Collective: What, you were expecting Michael Jordan and some animated monsters?

[Once again, I have to apologize for a technical issue: namely the station's ancient CD player acting up during the first two tracks. There are a few gaps in the first song, and I had to abandon playing the second song entirely with about five minutes still remaining. Because neither is on Spotify, I provide links, as per usual, so you can hear them in their entirety]

Opening the first set is the intentionally stupidly named Oulu Space Jam Collective (I mean, apologies if I'm wrong, and their name is in fact a heartfelt tribute to the movie Space Jam, but, given that their music is very non-stupid, I feel fairly confident in my assertion) with a searing, sax-heavy freakout reminiscent of the last few tracks on the Stooges' Fun House (which I brought up in the last capsule - it's one of my favorite albums of all time and so I'm fairly receptive to any band that seems inspired by it). After that is the minimalist, blues-y drone of Hôpital De La Conception, who sound a bit like legendary Belgian guitar primitivist Ignatz sitting in with Space Program favorites 75 Dollar Bill. Then, wrapping things up are two artists who recently had albums reissued: the unfortunately named Pussy, a late-60s, organ-heavy classic psych group, and Mike Tingley, who put out an incredible album of orchestral psychedelic folk in 1968 and then more or less disappeared.

The middle set this week is electronic-focused, and starts out with Pink Purple, a side project of the Flaming Lips (a band that I think I should like, in theory, but that I've never really been a big fan of). It's an odd album that vacillates between Bobb Trimble-ish lo-fi, keyboard-y folk and throbbing, analog synth-heavy rock bangers a la their Jackpot Records labelmates, Portland's own Crock (take a wild guess which of these two modes I chose to showcase). We also get some 60s style keyboard-driven rock by Mr. Elevator; some "new age" ambience, old and new, from Emerald Web and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith; John Carpenter-ish (circa Escape From New York) pop-kosmische by Black Deer; and some uncategorizable weirdness by Pod Blotz.

The last set starts with Bohren & Der Club of Gore, who started off, ages ago, doing dark cabaret jazz, but who in more recent years have adopted a more synth-heavy, Angelo Badalamenti circa Fire Walk With Me sound. Following this are: Jeff Parker, longtime member of Tortoise, with some swirling, psych-influenced jazz; three tracks from a great new compilation of the Uruguayan avant-garde scene of the 1980s; some early, recently reissued dark ambience from the appropriately-named Dark Arts; and the wildly inventive violin stylings of Galya Bisengalieva

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* Not on Spotify:
Oulu Space Jam Collective - Nebulus Horn
Hôpital De La Conception (Featuring Junk Nurse) - Part 1

:Episode One Hundred Seventy-One: 1.17.2020

Craven Faults
Craven Faults: The fact that this is literally the only image I can find of them online says everything you need to know.

The first set, as per usual, is rock and/or roll, beginning with a track from the new live album by Mythic Sunship, recorded at Roadburn, the annual European metal/psych festival. I keep reading reviews of this album describing it as "brave," I guess because of the fact that incorporates their new saxophone player. But, are rock fans so still biased against jazz that they won't even tolerate a sax? One of the foundational albums of psychedelic rock, the Stooges' Fun House, has sax all over it! Anyhow, if you're under thirty and listen to this show (given that the median age of my listeners - the ones that get in touch with me, anyhow - seems to be around... 70 or so, I'd guess there aren't many) write me and let me know what your opinion is on jazz elements in rock.

And speaking of jazz, the middle set leads off with one of the greatest psychedelic-leaning jazz musicians ever, Don Cherry (he's on the soundtrack to The Holy Mountain... "nuff said" to quote the late, great Stan Lee), with a cut from the recently reissued (on vinyl, natch) "Mu" Second Part. As I get into on the show, I've never quite gotten why the quotes around "Mu" in the title. My theory is that they thought people were unaware that Mu was a word (or a letter, as it were - a Greek letter, μ, to be specific) and the quotes were to make sure it didn't seem like either a typo or an onomatopoeia (a la WFMU's logo).

The final set (which is usually entirely electronic music, but this week is more "electronic adjacent" in that it's mostly non-electronic groups that prominently feature keyboards) starts with a track from what is already, this early in the year, a very strong contender for my 2020 best-of list: the debut full-length from Craven Faults. It's kind of a perfect album for January (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyhow) in that it seems inspired, tonally at least, by the proto-"dark ambient" of Brian Eno's Ambient 4 and Harold Budd's Abandoned Cities. In execution, though, it's very classically kosmische, reminding me of Irrlicht- and Cyborg-era Klaus Schulze.

Listen Now! View Playlist

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Seventy: 1.3.2020

Michael Stearns
Michael Stearns: Getting modular.

[Note: Apologies for the capsule being rather late, but I've been battling what I think is the flu (a disease I wish was still called "the grippe"... "the flu" sounds like a mild annoyance, and almost cutesy in a way, but "the grippe" sounds like a deadly wizard's curse). Also, this week's show is a bit of a mash-up (and not of the 2 Many DJs variety, either) in that it's 1/3 new music, 1/3 a guest slot by my brother, and 1/3 some of my favorite reissues of 2019 (the rest of which I'll put up soon as a bonus playlist)]

Leading off the first set is Oiseaux-Tempête, whose new album sounds more like Swans than the most recent, kind of disappointing Swans album. After this we get Montreal's New World Science, who describe themselves as a "sincere foray into forth-world fantasy" (can't argue there); another sincere foray into fantasy, albeit of the 70s prog variety, by the UK's Guranfoe (bonus points for their excellent, very Bo Hansson-ish cover art); some Tortoise-inspired post-rock by the mysterious Temple & Young (give them a google and see if you can find out any more than I could); and the burbling avant-garde electronics of CIA Debutante.

The middle set is supplied by my brother (who, other than for the sake of nepotism, I like to have on the show because he brings the perspective of someone who actually makes music, something I do not) and leads with the opening track to Baraka (which showed in 70mm at Portland's own Hollywood Theatre last week, and did not sell out. Two screenings of Total Recall in 70mm did. Aren't we supposed to be a bunch of cultured, artsy snobs in this town?) by ambient/4th World legend Michael Stearns (and not to step on my bros's toeses, but Planetary Unfolding is my personal favorite entry in his catalog). After that is the spaced-out country of William Tyler; the 70s avant-garde jazz of Henri Texier; Colombian, Latin-influenced strangeness by Meridian Brothers; Dutch ambience from Gaussian Curve; and finally, the psychedelic neo-folk of Chuck Johnson.

And then, the somewhat shorter-than-usual final set (truncated due to banter - if you listen to the show recording, you can hear my story of cornering the band White Hills at a show ten years ago to ask about the origin of the sample at the start of this song (it's Ian MacKaye, btw)) includes some of my favorite reissued tracks from 2019, such as Suzanne Ciani's amazing Buchla-backed spoken word piece (taken from the poetry of Charles Baudelaire) Flowers of Evil, Turkish analog synth wiz Gökçen Kaynatan's Cehennem, and a cut from Martin Rev's 1985 solo album Clouds of Glory.

Listen Now! View Playlist

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Nine: 12.27.2019

Starfield
Catch you in 2020, Space Cadets.

This week’s episode is the best of the 2019 Space Program, and instead of the usual capsule, I give you my favorite 20 albums of the year, which you can read about at the link

Space Program - Best of 2019

And, you can hear tracks from 17 of these albums on the most recent episode of the show, which was recorded without any significant technical difficulties, for a change.

Listen Now! View Playlist

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Anunnaki - Rise of the Millenarian

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Eight: 12.20.2019

Khan Jamal
Khan Jamal: Vibing on the vibes with the Creative Arts Ensemble.

[Note: There are far more than the usual number of technical glitches in this week's show, including a long gap in the first twenty minutes due to an internet outage, spotty audio quality due to a cable that needs replacing, and some spontaneous jumping between songs due to an aged CD player (feel free to make a donation to the station's PayPal account, by the way). Sounds great, right! Not only that, but there's no Spotify playlist this week since nothing I played is on there. But what are you going to do? Just read the capsule and find other, better sources to listen to whatever piques your interest? Ha! Just try!]

This week's show opens with Von Himmel, a 2000s-era space rock band that included as a member Rafi Bookstaber, whose absolutely lovely Late Summer I've played several times before (oh, and actually, the show opens with about a minute of Von Himmel and then 12 minutes of silence, but I'll just pretend that didn't happen, which is how we deal with most problems in this country these days anyhow). Following this is French Krautrock (so... Frogrock, I guess, in keeping with the mild ethnic slur + "rock" naming template) legends Heldon with a track from their latter, more proggy period, and then wrapping the first set is a drum-heavy freakout from White Hills' first EP.

The second set starts with Lamp of the Universe, who I suspect, like me, thought upon hearing the Beatles' Love You To for the first time "why can't there just be a whole album of this?" (and who pulled it off better than Lord Sitar). After that is noisy 80s Japanese no-wavers Kousokuya, the ultra-blown-out doomgaze of The Goslings (from Not Not Fun, back before they became an electronic-centric label), the gauzy ambient drone of Secret Pyramid (now that's a cool band name, kids), and the somewhere between Sunn O))) and Expo 70 metallic drone of RST.

The final set is nothing but [hepcat voice] jaaaaahhhuzzzz, daddy-o! And I'm not talking about the kind from Utah, you dig? [/enough hepcat voice] As teased last week, when I played Sounds of Liberation, a band featuring the great vibraphonist Khan Jamal, this week we hear a track from The Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble's Drumdance to the Motherland, one of the single greatest psychedelic jazz albums ever. Then, ending the show are three songs off of Message From The Tribe, a compilation drawn from the mid-70s output of Tribe Records, a Detroit avant-jazz label.

View episode playlist / link to listen

* Not on Spotify:
Everything! You're going to have to actually listen to the show recording, I'm afraid.

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Seven: 12.13.2019

Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Evidence that, as is the case with nearly all of Earth's vital resources, we are running perilously low on decent band names.

This week's show opens with Eddy Current Suppression Ring (because very literal descriptions of mundane objects is the new putting the word "black" or "wolf" in your band name; see also: Car Seat Headrest) a recent signee to neo-garage superlabel Castle Face, who come across like early AC/DC (i.e. staccato bar rock, with a singer who sounds like a less obnoxious Bon Scott) wedded to motorik, Neu!-esque drums. It's a clever merger of avant-garde and mainstream influences, a la Endless Boogie's Beefheart meets ZZ Top sound. Following this is Anton Newcombe's JAMC-y, French side project L'Épée; Afrobeat-influenced, proggy, Kraut-y rock by Hollow Ship; and the phaseriffic, Wooden Shjips-esque space rock of Buried Feather. After that is Seiche, a Chicago band whose ultra-obscure 1981 private press release of ten-years-too-late psych-prog was recently reissued by Portland's own Jackpot Records. Finally, wrapping up the first set are a trio of tracks off of From These Shores: Otherworldy Music and Far Out Sounds from Hawai'i, an amazing compilation that delivers on its title (specifically the faroutitude: dig the track by Richard Reb'll, a sermon on the power of love delivered in the dispassionate monotone of an NPR reporter, backed by an acid-fried lounge act featuring a heavily distorted, echoing organ).

The second set is where things get dark (ambient) with some moody, atmospheric sounds by Petbrick (which, if you're a fan of Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor's score to the surprisingly well-done Watchmen TV show, but wish it had a bit more early-NIN 90s industrial bite, should satisfy), Black to Comm, Luis Fernandes, and Magda Drozd. Also, providing a slight detour to the early 80s is the latter-day kosmische of Franco-German composer Serge Blenner, from his two first albums, reissued last month by German Krautrock (alte und neu) label Bureau B.

The final set opens with the Don Cherry meets Z'ev in the desert, world-influenced avant-jazz of Paisiel, continues with a track from Agitation Free's 1974 concert album At the Cliffs of River Rhine (newly reissued, and easily one of the better Krautrock live recordings), and finishes with the spiritual jazz of Sounds of Liberation (from another recently repressed disc), a group that includes Khan Jamal, of the Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble, who are responsible for what is perhaps the single most spaced-out jazz record ever outside of Sun Ra's discography.

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Six: 12.6.2019

Los Tabanos
Los Tabanos Experience: From Santiago, which going by the amount of facial hair and flannel on display, is apparently the Portland of South America.

[Note: I seldom get sick, but when I do, like right now, I get "don't see death as that unpleasant an alternative" sick, so the capsule is gonna be a bit terse]

Among the highlights of this week's show:

In the opening, rock-oriented set (really there are two rock-oriented sets this week, with the second a bit more nuanced and the first more straight-ahead R-A-W-K-!) we have: Chilean space rock by Los Tabanos Experience (check out the sweet blacklight painting art on that cover); some bludgeoning stoner metal by Holy Serpent; motorik, new-wavey, chug-a-lug by 10 000 Russos; neo-shoegaze by Routine Death; some... I don't even know - industrial-gaze? - by Kill Your Boyfriend; and some very economical (a minute forty - maybe the shortest track I've ever played) psych-punk by Skull Cult.

The middle also-rock-set consists of the proggy psych of Portland's own Weeed; the jazzy funk-rock (or maybe funky jazz-rock?) of Badge Époque Ensemble; Middle-Eastern influenced sounds by Al Doum & the Faryds; some operatic avant-rock by legendary producer (of Sonic Youth, Swans, etc) Martin Bisi; and the vintage-sounding Iberian folk-rock of Bifannah.

The last set includes a rather singular (as I said on the show, it reminds me of a lot of things but no one thing in particular) jazz-influenced, electronic avant-garde piece by Gareth Davis & Scanner; a bit of founding member of CAN Irmin Schmidt's early-80s output, from his recently reissued career-retrospective album Villa Wunderbar; lovely Buchla synth-drone by Shasta Cults; and, finally... well, it's a song called "Blasting Super Melt", you can probably guess what you're going to get (oh, by Shapednoise, by the way).

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Bonus Playlist: 11.27.2019

Julian Cope
Julian Cope: Seen here in the offical Krautrock tour guide's uniform.

There's no regular episode this week, as I'll be headed to Seattle (motto: all the hassle and expense of San Francisco, with only a fraction of the cultural amenities!) for Thanksgiving with my family. Instead, I'm offering you this playlist of thirty-five songs, each representing an album from the best-of list found in Julian Cope's 1994 book Krautrocksampler (of the 50 albums on it, only 35 are currently on Spotify, but the rest aren't too hard to find elsewhere).

I mention this book frequently, both on air and in episode capsules, and I think it's fair for you, my Space Cadets™, to ask why, given that it's long out of print, and... not actually all that comprehensive a guide (I attribute this to the fact that a lot of the more obscure Krautrock albums - e.g. German Oak, anything from Achim Reichel's discography - were essentially impossible to find at the time). The reason is entirely personal, as it was, in my late-90s college years, one of the first curated guides I came across to the world of avant-garde and underground music, which I was only beginning to explore at the time. Not only that, but it was lent to me by a friend who had taken it with him when he had done a semester abroad in Germany and subsequently returned with copies of almost every album referenced therein, from which he created an accompanying mixtape not dissimilar to the playlist I'm presenting here (it even started with the same track I start mine with, CAN's "Father Cannot Yell", which hooked me immediately.)

I've done my best to assemble it into a legitimate "mix", although at 35 songs and five and a half hours(!), it won't have the same flow as some of the shorter bonus playlists. What I shot for was an even distribution of artists and... "hits", if you will, across the board, so that it doesn't ever get bogged down in, say, 45 minutes straight of early Tangerine Dream minimalist space-scapes, and doesn't provide diminishing returns, so that you're as likely to find one of (at least what I consider) the better tracks in the last hour as you are the first. The thought is, you should be able to dip in and out of it whenever you want a Kraut-y, spaced-out break from the traffic nightmares, run-ins with crazy relatives, and shopping frenzies that accompany your four-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Open Playlist in Spotify

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Five: 11.22.2019

Expo 70
Expo 70: Set the drone for the heart of the sun.

A couple of notes about this week's show: first, once again, due to a technical issue at the studio (namely, the internet going out - you'd think an internet radio station would have a secure, stable internet connection. You'd think.) there's about a five minute gap in the show that occurs around the end of the second song. Second, this week's show is a sequel of sorts to one I did back in April, in honor of 4/20 (about which I said at the time: while I do not think pot or other psychedelic drugs are at all necessary to enjoy psychedelic music (just to enhance it, in the words of Otto Mann), 4/20 is, for better or worse, the closest thing we have to a psychedelic holiday) that celebrates one of the highest (no pun intended) forms of psychedelic and/or avant-garde music: the extended drone. (Also, the earlier show, from April 19, is still available on my show page on the HoS website **UPDATE** And now it's a Spotify playlist, as well.)

The opening set begins with the title track from Church of Anthrax, one of the best avant-rock albums ever made, by two titans of late-20th century experimental music, Terry Riley, and John Cale. It's an record that, given the relative renown of its two composers, you'd think would be more well-known. Yet I have, on multiple occasions, met people who were big fans of both who had no idea it existed (and were subsequently blown away when they heard it). Next we have a staple of The Space Program, Expo '70, with a track from Mystical Amplification, one of their more low-end-heavy, Sunn O)))-ish albums (that was just repressed on vinyl and is available now - Justin Wright, Mr. Expo '70 himself, is still recovering from a rather nasty mishap, involving a power saw and his hand, that he suffered last year, so any cash you throw his way I'm sure is appreciated). The set concludes with another title track, from Ariel Kalma's groundbreaking first album, Les Temps des Moissons.

The middle set starts with maybe the most brilliantly dumb pop song ever written, Faust's "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl." It's a reductio ad absurdum satire of pop music's most noxious elements - insipid lyrics, uninspired instrumentation and structure - that is also, at the same time, incredibly fun and catchy... just like pop music. This is followed by Perde Kaldirma, a piece of Sufi ritual music meant to accompany whirling dervishes, that comes from one of the most psychedelic world music compilations I've ever encountered (other than those released by Sublime Frequencies), called simply Trance 1 (released in the mid-90s, before "trance" became established as a subgenre of electronic music) that I picked up in a thrift store in the early 2000s. Also, if you're looking for a slightly abridged version of this song, Master Musicians of Bukkake recorded one for their 2010 album Totem Two.

Leading the final set is a song that I played for the first all-drone show, The Heavenly Music Corporation, from Fripp & Eno's masterful No Pussyfooting (that, like Church of Anthrax is also oddly overlooked), but, this time it's... backwards. The 2008 CD-only reissue of the album contains completely reversed versions of both songs (and a half-speed version of Heavenly Music Corporation), as a "tribute" of sorts, to legendary BBC DJ John Peel, who accidentally played it that way on his show when it was released back in 1973. The set and the show then conclude with some Gnawan healing music performed by one of Morocco's many musical brotherhoods, taken from Trance 2, which, as you might guess, was the sequel to the above-referenced Trance 1.

View episode playlist / link to listen

* Not on Spotify:
Everything! You're going to have to actually listen to the show recording, I'm afraid.

**UPDATE**UPDATE**UPDATE**
As of... pretty recently, both Fripp & Eno albums, No Pussyfooting (minus the bonus tracks from the 2008 reissue) and Evening Star, are on Spotify. This means that I can, in lieu of a Spotify playlist for this week's show, offer you one for the aforementioned 4/20 Drone Show.

Open playlist in Spotify

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Four: 11.15.2019

Les Big Byrd
Les Big Byrd: Sadly, the dog had to leave the band due to his 1000 Euro a day rawhide chew habit.

This week's show starts with a brand new single by the French band Les Big Byrd (a lawsuit-baiting name if ever there was one - they're lucky Disney doesn't own the Sesame Street muppets... yet) which delivers a tidy three minutes of blissed-out motorik pop a la Neu! (the track is called Snö-Golem, which may be a reference to a character from Adventure Time, a show that I, a childless man, would never deign to watch the entirety of). This is followed by the mid-70s bedroom pop-psych of Stone Harbour (who remind me of an ultra lo-fi Bobb Trimble), some incredibly nuggets-era-faithful garage rock from Planchettes (that little guitar-pick shaped thing you use on a ouija board - perfectly apt for a band from New Orleans, that perpetual fount of gumbo and quasi-mystical hokum), Heldon-esque weirdness by Toiling Midgets, JAMC/BRMC-ish dark shoegaze by The Black Heart Death Cult (which, sorry guys, but is a name that's a bit... genre-obvious - to coin a term), spooky psych-folk from Spids Nøgenhat (named for Spuds MacKenzie's non-union Danish equivalent), and 70s-esque prog from the late 2000s by Makajodama.

The middle set begins with a head-swimming seventeen minute sound collage by one of the pioneers of the genre, Carl Stone, and then continues with three tracks from the recent compilation Mathias Modica presents Kraut Jazz Futurism, whose title I'd say is perfectly apt, with the notable exception of one word. The issue I take is with "futurism", which is... not exactly how I would characterize the music contained therein. Kraut-y, for sure. Jazzy, yes. Presented by Mathias Modica... I'll just assume is true. But futurist? Perhaps from the perspective of 1976. There's nothing wrong with sounds strongly rooted in the past (what are classical orchestras if not the high-culture equivalent of a retro covers band), but I fail to see how this album is at all futuristic, or even particularly forward-looking (but is - I should emphasize - my semantic quibbles notwithstanding, quite good).

Opening the final set is Steve Hauschildt (of Emeralds) with a track from his new album of neo-kosmische electronics, which is actually kind of futurist... in a retro sort of way (it's clearly inspired by Klaus Schulzean, 70s-era kosmische, but incorporates beats and synth textures that wouldn't sound out of place on a modern club track) This is followed by Gavilán Rayna Russom, of LCD Soundsystem (a band that exists to remind 90s indie rocker dads of a time when knowing who Brian Eno was conferred upon them some modicum of cultural cachet) with some ice-cold minimal-wave electro, featuring Cosey Fanni Tutti of Chris & Cosey and erstwhile of Throbbing Gristle on vocals. Next is Ryo Kawasaki, with some late-70s reggae-tinged synthy prog, and finishing things up are the bleeps and/or bloops of Sunny Balm, Leif, and TRjj.

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
The Black Heart Death Cult - Dravidian Dream Beam
Sunny Balm - A Mobile Nature

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Three: 11.8.2019

Anunnaki
Annunaki: It's clear who got dibs on instruments (the one with the modular synth).

Among the highlights of this week's show:

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to technical issues at the station, the show cuts off halfway through the final song on the playlist]

An opening set of decidedly metal-leaning acts (a few years ago, there was an article in Vice in which the author played a bunch of contemporary psychedelic rock bands for his Boomer parents and their response was "why is it all so heavy? this is just metal", so depending on your perspective, I guess, it's all metal-leaning). This includes British Columbia's own Anunnaki, who give Om a run for their money as a two-man drone unit (which would be a Grammy category, if I had a say in how they were run), and Chile's La Grande Armée with some classic stoner metal riffage (neither of which are on Spotify - see the usual note below for links to their respective Bandcamp pages, however). Also featured are Psychic Lemon, who deliver some instrumental, Hawkwindian space rock, and Have a Nice Life, with some lo-fi doomgaze.

A middle avant-garde/world/what-have-you set that leads with a track from the new album by local (that being Portland, OR) Morricone-esque soundscapers Abronia (for which they will be hosting a release party at Mississippi Studios in a couple of weeks). As well, for whatever reason, I chanced upon a number of Middle Eastern/Saharan African-influenced bands while assembling this week's playlist, which includes: Tapan meets Generation Taragalte, a truly impressive collaboration between a Serbian avant-electronic group and a Tuareg guitar band; Land of Kush (which ranks up there with Bongzilla in terms of band names that let your audience know what substances you prefer), a twelve-person mini-orchestra (orchestrina?) that delivers dizzyingly complex prog epics; and Giraffe, with a minimalist take on Agitation Free-style world-influenced Krautrock.

A final (truncated, due to technical difficulties, as mentioned above) set of electronic and electronic-adjacent sounds that includes the compelling neo-prog of Rich Ruth, the circa-80s, Tangerine Dream-ish sounds of Vernal Equinox (the track I played wouldn't have sounded out of place on the most recent season of Stranger Things, a testament to how faithful to the era its music composers are), and Texas oddballs Shit & Shine mashing up a hilarious prank call to a debt-relief agency with minimalist techno.

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Anunnaki - Procession
La Grande Armée - La Tripa Intergalactica

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-Two: 11.1.2019

Paper Dollhouse
Paper Dollhouse: Sullen looks, cheery sounds.

Among the highlights of this week's show:

Some instrumental, lightly prog- and Kraut-tinged rock from Germany's Acid Rooster (not to be confused with Atomic Rooster, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown spin-off act). I've made it known that I am not a huge fan of vocals (so many rock vocalists just can't sing, and only make things worse by either - if they're male - doing the mumbly, tongue-swallowing "Hunger Dunger Dang" thing, or - if they're female - sing-talking in a breathy monotone) but the problem I have with a lot of instrumental rock bands is that, to compensate for the lack of emotion lent by a frontperson, they give their music this heart-tugging earnestness that makes it sound like the soundtrack to a rom-com. But I want my rock to make me think of people fleeing a zombie apocalypse, or two kaiju battling, or [insert action movie trope here], not two insufferable twits discovering that love is the answer to all life's problems, and thankfully Acid Rooster's sound leans much more toward the former of those two options.

Also from the opening, rock and/or roll-oriented block, three tracks from the latest installment of the Brown Acid series, dedicated to psychedelic (or at least psych-influenced) obscurities of the post-Nuggets era (i.e. the 70s). The fact that the ninth(!) album in this series is quite possibly the best (nary a dud to be found - a rarity for almost any compilation) is a testament both to the crate-diggers responsible (mostly the respective owners of Permanent Records and RidingEasy) and to fact that there's sooooooo much music out there. I hate to harp on this again, but, to everyone my age (old-ish) that complains about how there's no good music anymore: if these guys can dredge up nine albums of forgotten gems from a half-century ago, you can find a band you like that you didn't listen to prior to graduating college (or high school, depending on how early your taste ossified - I'm consistently mortified by the number of people I know who essentially gave up on expanding their pop-cultural horizons when they were seventeen).

A longform, kosmische and musique concrète-informed piece by the London-based experimental synth-pop duo Paper Dollhouse (if you caught Stereolab on their recent North American tour, for which their opening act was Bitchin Bajas, and thought "I like both these bands, but I'd really like one that splits the difference between them" then you're in luck!) that was commissioned by the London Museum of Witchcraft and Magic for an exhibition called The Art of Magic. It honestly doesn't strike me as particularly witchy or magical, but it's a nice solid slab of electronic-oriented drone, something I generally can't complain about.

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Nothing this week. Sometimes, they really do have it all.

:Episode One Hundred Sixty-One: 10.25.2019

Tunes of Negation
Tunes of Negation: No need to hide your faces, boys! You made one of the best albums of the year!

Among the highlights of this week's show:

A track from the debut album of Tunes of Negation, the incredible new project from the electronic music producer Shackleford (known mostly for dubstep, but, as I point out during the show, a variety that sounds much closer to Burial, say, than Skrillex) which takes elements of 4th World and kosmische and... any number of other influences (I even hear a bit of Nina Hagen in some of the operatic female vocals) and re-contextualizes them for a contemporary audience (i.e. doesn't make them sound too overtly retro) in a manner that I find quite singular and compelling. It's so good, in fact, it even made me break one of my rules for the show, whereby if I play a track from an album, I can't play anything else from it for at least 6-12 months (my reasoning, to co-opt a Latin phrase (that I know from the NYT Crossword, like nearly all my highfalutin cultural references) is "music longa, show brevis"). I played the lead-off single on a show a few months ago, but put it toward the end, and after listening to the album itself, and being completely floored by it, wanted to give it the attention I think it deserves.

The most recent album by Ka Baird, a wild freakout that reminds me of NNCK, Finnish outsider noise à la Kemialliset Ystävät or Uton, and even the godmother of avant-garde rock herself, the inimitable Yoko Ono. This style of "freak-folk," as it was labeled by the music press (even though it's not typically all that folk-y) seemed to reach peak cultural relevance about a decade and a half ago, with the success of Animal Collective (who immediately ditched that sound and became the acid house Beach Boys), Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, and then (to my disappointment) faded almost immediately from view. So it heartens me that it still has a few torchbearers.

A Halloween half-block (which for my show generally means no more than 2-3 songs) of dooooooooooooom, from three of the modern masters of the genre, Sunn O))), Deathprod, and Zonal. The latter two, being more electronic-oriented, tend, for whatever reason, to be classified not as doom but rather as "dark ambient." It's a label that isn't unfair, but that I find slightly inapt, as their sound is not nearly subtle enough to be considered ambience. Hence I tend to think of them more as... just doom. But electronic. (There have, in the past, been attempts to label this genre more precisely, but all the suggested names - electro-doom, doomtronica - make me think of the soundtrack to the original Blade, and other artifacts of the pop-culture of the late-90s, which I consider the aesthetic nadir of the past 50 or so years).

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
NANI ∞ GURU - Nebula In The Pocket (Acid Mothers side-project alert)
France Sauvage - Brex me down

:Bonus Playlist: 10.18.2019

Lenny Kaye
Lenny Kaye: Slinging Nuggets long before Mickey D's.

Now that I have my website back into fighting trim, I'm going to try to release one or two bonus Spotify playlists a month (like the Spooky Folky Fall playlists you'll find if you scroll a bit down this page), and in honor of this weekend's Portland, Oregon Nuggets Night, which is coming to an end after a dozen years, I thought I'd put out my own playlist of songs from the original psychedelic era.

Now, you may be wondering: "Isn't Spotify choked with playlists of music from the 60s? Why should I listen to yours?" And the answer is: as you, the Space Cadets™ are probably already aware, my taste in psychedelic music is more Stooges and Hawkwind than Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead, so my selections are a little... "edgier," for lack of a better term, than most. If your typical psychedelic 60s playlist is '66 Batman, mine is Nolan's (oooh... so dark), or maybe Burton's, since there's still a bit of whimsy in there.

You may also be wondering, depending on your age and level of musical awareness, "What are Nuggets?" I think the Wikipedia entry explains it pretty well, but, briefly, the original "Nuggets" was an album of late-60s garage and psychedelic pop singles compiled by the musician/journalist Lenny Kaye in the early 70s that has been reissued several times since (most recently as an expanded 4 CD box in the late 90s), and is considered such a seminal document of that era that the word "Nugget" has become synonymous with any early, obscure, spaced-out sounding rock song (as well as a heavily processed chicken byproduct marketed by McDonald's).

Open playlist in Spotify

:Episode One Hundred Sixty: 10.18.2019

The Comet Is Coming
The Comet Is Coming: If I may channel Johnny Carson's Carnac the Magnificent (look him up): "What are the last words every Heaven's Gate member heard?".

Among the highlights of this week's show:

An opening block of rock to knock your socks into... the dock of chalk? (FM DJ patter is not my strong suit) A few times a year, I'll hear someone, usually around my age (about which I'll say: I was a "90s kid"... if by "kid" you mean "teenager," and let you do the math) lament that "rock is dead." To which I say: take these six songs, all from albums released THIS YEAR and cram them into your pipe with walnuts and smoke it, Gramps! (again, not so great with the patter) We've got some Hawkwind-on-ludes low-key space rock from Firefriend, some JAMC/BRMC-ish noisy, noir-y stomp from Rev Rev Rev and The Black Wizards, a bit of stoner metal from Blackwater Holylight, as well as 70s-inspired prog by Bison Machine and 60s-inspired French psych-pop by Fabienne DelSol.

A middle block of jazz and jazz-adjacent (i.e. improvised) tunes, leading off with a track from current fusion-jazz torchbearers The Comet Is Coming, who released the best album of their short career earlier this year, and who have now given us an EP that is sort of the In a Silent Way to its successor's Bitches Brew. We also get Upperground Orchestra channeling some serious Sun Ra vibes (I saw the Sun Ra Arkestra earlier this year, so I know of what I speak) on a track that's not on the Spotify playlist, but that I think is worth seeking out (I mean, all you have to do is click something... not really much "seeking" involved) as it's maybe the most truly spaced-out jazz I've heard in quite some time.

A closing block of electronic music that includes the Negativland-esque plunderphonics (long before mash-ups, there was plunderphonics) of People Like Us, as well as one of the godfathers of contemporary Japanese minimal ambience, Masahiro Sugaya, with a track from the first edition of what is to be a multi-volume retrospective of his work (I mean, I assume - it's subtitled "Volume 1" and the guy has an ENORMOUS back catalog, almost none of which has ever been released outside Japan) released by Light In The Attic sub-label Empire of Signs.

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify:
Upperground Orchestra - Barene
Humming Dogs - Oh Le Le
Eye Nono - My Blue Horizon

:Episode One Hundred Fifty-Nine: 10.11.2019

Phil Pearlman
Phil Pearlman (left), blissfully unaware than in about thirty years his son would join al-Qaeda (seriously).

Among the highlights of this week's show:

A vintage late-sixties freakout by The Beat of the Earth, the initial musical outing by Phil Pearlman, a multi-instrumentalist whose subsequent projects, The Electronic Hole - a dark, dirgey VU knock-off - and Relatively Clean Rivers - often described (aptly, I think) as a version of the Grateful Dead for people who hate the Grateful Dead (i.e. it's stripped of their most insufferable tendencies e.g. endless noodling) - I've played in the past. I can't say why The Beat of the Earth has never, in nearly four years, found its way onto one of my playlists, but this summer, inspired somewhat by Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood's excellent soundtrack of late-60s-era pop-psych gems, I've been revisiting my albums from the original psychedelic era (~'66-'69), and it, in particular screamed out (and banged on bongos, and wailed on guitar, etc.) to be played.

Neighborhoods, an incredible private-press album from the mid-70s, recorded right here in Portland, Oregon by jazz musician Ernest Hood, that weds musique concrète with new-age synths and zither (and a few other instruments). There are other albums from the original new-age era that incorporate field recordings (Ariel Kalma's Osmose, in which the sounds of a tropical rainforest are almost as much an instrument as Kalma's synths and sax, is an example par excellence) but none that I know of that use the sounds of an urban environment. It's almost certainly the greatest release yet by Freedom to Spend (the Portland-based sub-label of RVNG, Int'l run by Eternal Tapestry's Jed Bindemann and Yellow Swans' Pete Swanson), which is saying something, given their impressive track record so far.

A blast of maximalist drone from Vibracathedral Orchestra (which is out on Oaken Palace a label which donates all their profits to environmental causes), a band that will always have particular significance for me, as one of their albums was the first purchase (of what would be many, many, maaaaaaaaaaaaany more) I made from the late, great Aquarius Records (soon to be the subject of a documentary).

Finally... I have made a decision (that I may come to regret) to start offering my playlists (or a close approximation thereof) on Spotify. Because I draw from various sources for the music on my show, they'll be necessarily incomplete (not everything is on Spotify, an important lesson for you younger would-be music-o-philes). But, as I am (painfully) aware, not that many people want to download and listen to an entire two hour long radio show (how many people even have an mp3 player anymore, or an mp3-playing app on their phone?) and so for a lot of you Space Cadets™ Spotify might be more convenient. It might wound my ego slightly to see the download stats for my show decline, but the fact is, I'm all about the music, maaaaaaaan, so I don't really care how you listen.

View episode playlist / link to listen

Open playlist in Spotify

* Not on Spotify: Vibrathedral Orchestra: Through Coming Window

:Back In Orbit: 10.11.2019

Starfield
Space: It is, in fact, the place, according to Sun Ra.

Sorry for the extended hiatus in writing episode capsules, but unfortunately, various non-show-related activities have kept me fairly busy the past year (I've still been doing the show, just not updating this site). All the episodes from the past six months are still available on the HOS website, which you can visit by clicking the link over on the sidebar to the right.

Also, just as a reminder, even once episodes are deleted, their playlists (and annotations, if they have them) remain in the (mostly complete) Space Program archives.

To make up for my absence, enjoy a couple of bonus Spotify playlists. They are spooky, and folky (and, it goes without saying, space-y) and a perfect accompaniment to all your fall-related activities.

Spooky Folky Fall

Spooky Folky Fall (Reprise)